HTC Sensation XE Review

Introduction and Design

The restless HTC has recently been branching out its smartphones, trying to fill market niches it feels are underserved, like female-oriented handsets, or phones with an enhanced audio experience. For the latter it entered into cooperation with Beats by Dr Dre, and decided to leverage the audio brand's know-how with the HTC Sensation XE, an upgrade to its flagship Android handset.

We say upgrade since the HTC Sensation XE is the same phone with minor changes:  new color scheme,the 3rd generation dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset is pumped to its maximum 1.5GHz, and a beefier battery  compensates for that might.

The Beats Audio colaboration is meant to set the Sensation XE apart as a smartphone audio king. Did it succeed in creating the best smartphone for music lovers? Read on to find out…

In the box:

  • HTC Sensation XE handset
  • Beats Audio in-ear headphones
  • Beats Audio headphones pouch
  • Replacement buds of different sizes
  • Wall charger
  • MicroUSB cable
  • Warranty and user guide leaflets

The HTC Sensation XE hasn't been announced for any US carrier and you can only get it SIM-free for now. It's compatible with the AT&T network, and you can use it on T-Mobile without 3G connectivity.


HTC brushed the Sensation XE with red accents to emphasize this is a different handset than the standard Sensation (4G).

The earspeaker grill, the camera ring, and the capacitive buttons are all red, and so is the Beats Audio logo on the back, making the whole set appear cool and informal, what the Beats brand stands for.

You can compare the HTC Sensation XE with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The back is done in two pieces of excellent quality soft-touch plastic, separated diagonally by a brushed aluminum strip in mahogany.

This metal strip is a part of the unibody aluminum chassis,  with curved recessed glass over the 4.3” LCD display with 540x960 pixels of resolution, that protects it from scratching when facing down.  A typical HTC high-quality build.

The screen is bright enough outside, with excellent viewing angles, and very good 256ppi pixel density, achieved with the traditional RGB matrix, as opposed to the PenTile arrangement of some Motorola qHD displays, for example. Text appears crisp and the colors are vivid. One advantage of the Super LCD tech of the screen is that it is usually very well calibrated and white appears almost spot on (~6500K), instead of cold blueish like on Super AMOLED displays.

Well, let’s flip the phone over and see what we have on the back to set it apart in the audio department. In short - nothing but the Beats logo. We have the same slightly protruding circular camera module of the 8MP shooter next to the speaker at the phone’s rear, and five dots piercing the soft-touch plastic, for various microphone and noise-cancellation purposes.

HTC Sensation XE 360-degree View:

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless